Police chief 'horrified' that 'Kill the Bill' hashtag is allowed on Twitter

28 March 2021, 14:52 | Updated: 29 March 2021, 08:02

Kill the Bill protests have been seen in cities across the UK over the last week, with move expected over Easter.
Kill the Bill protests have been seen in cities across the UK over the last week, with move expected over Easter. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

A top police chief has said she is "horrified" the "Kill the Bill" hashtag is being permitted to be shared by those who oppose the government's controversial new police and crime bill.

Chief Constable Lucy D'Orsi, who heads the British Transport Police said she was "horrified that anyone including Twitter finds it acceptable to use or permit the use of a hashtag of #killthebill".

The hashtag began as part of opposition to the government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which includes new proposals giving police increased powers to tackle protests in England and Wales.

Read more: Kill the Bill: Why are people protesting in Bristol?

Read more: Police release pictures of 10 'Kill the Bill' riot suspects

But some say the phrase can be seen as threatening police officers, with "the old bill" being a slang term for the police.

John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents 130,000 officers, has put his support behind the calls.

"Well said," he tweeted. "The hashtag is intentionally offensive and those who started it knew exactly what they were doing."

Mr Apter said he had flagged the hashtag with the Home Office but would join with police chiefs in calling it out on social media.

Police, under the new laws, will be able to put more restrictions in place including a start and finish time, noise limits and makes it an offence to “intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance”.

The Kill the Bill protests have also turned violent in recent days, with dozens arrested at demonstrations across the UK.

Officers and protests were injured in Bristol, with officers in riot gear moving in on multiple evenings in the past week.

Police say some protesters threw objects at them, while protesters have posted images online appearing to show significant bruising from being hit with plastic riot shields.

Watch: David Lammy's deep concern by scenes at Bristol 'Kill the Bill' protest

Read More: Police used 'legitimate tactics' against Bristol protesters, police chief claims

Alongside her calls for an end to the use of the Kill the Bill hashtag, Chief Constable D'Orsi shared an image of police at one protest, tweeting: "So many views on protest and policing at the moment. Policing is a job like no other and I am proud of my British Transport Police officers. Could you do this?"

Despite the controversy, the Kill the Bill protests appear to be gathering in momentum, with plans for a "National Weekend of Action" in cities across the UK over the Easter weekend.

The actions are expected to take place on Saturday in London, as well as other cities including Plymouth and Bournemouth.

LBC has contacted the Home Office for comment.